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It Is an Easy Way to Ruin

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Cause for Lamentation, Repentance, and Labor

The Sad and Dangerous Effects of the Decay of Heavenly Trade

It Is an Easy Way to Ruin}


The decay of this heavenly trade, if not cured, is a ready and certain way to ruin. “The rich man’s wealth is his fortress, The ruin of the poor is their poverty” (Proverbs 10:15 NASB). People’s poverty fills them with consternation and dejecting fear. It also exposes them to much harm and destroys their earthly defense from oppression by making them easy prey for oppressors. “A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, And like a high wall in his own imagination” (Proverbs 18.11 NASB). Rich people [are able to] protect themselves from injustice. Their riches are advocates for them to people, but poor people lie open to every invasion; when people grow poor, every person treads on them. So it is when the heavenly trade decays and poverty of soul springs out of its ruin. Destruction comes quickly to such places and people. For this, the Lord Jesus threatens to take the kingdom from a people because they do not bring forth the fruit of it (Matthew 24:43).328 They did not render to God the fruit of all His cultivation and waiting on them. Barrenness and decays in Christianity, if not cured, are a certain forerunner of desolation (Luke 13:6-9).329


Before the Lord brought in that cruel nation, the Vandals, on Spain and Africa, the Christians were much degenerated from their former purity (as Salvian330 complains) and the power of godliness was much decayed. Salvian tells us they had nothing left but the name of Christianity, and their way of life was most unchristian. He asks, “How it is that we please ourselves with the name of Christian when the very name makes our guilt greater because we are so unlike Christians?” Before the massacre at Paris, said Mr. Clarke in his martyrology, “Such a general stupidity seized upon the Protestants that their minds were very wavering, and few there were who showed themselves zealously bent to Christianity. But all, both great and small, thinking deeply on worldly matters, built themselves goodly castles in the air.”331 Some observed that, before the change of religion and martyrdom in Queen Mary’s days,332 there was great lack of profit from the means of grace. We do not know what will be the outcome of the great decay in Christianity among us. But such symptoms have usually preceded great changes and severe blows on such people and places. And, is this not reason for lamentation? Physicians used to cure lethargy with a fever. Lethargy has been our disease. Oh, that the fever, if no other means will work, will be our cure.


328Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits” (Matthew 21:43 ESV).

329And He began telling this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, “Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?” And he answered and said to him, “Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down”’” (Luke 13:6–9 NASB). Fertilizer meant manure. Stinky providences in your life may be God’s calling you to repentance and faith in Christ leading to eternal life instead of Hell.

330See https://www.ccel.org/ccel/salvian (Accessed March 3, 2019).

331Samuel Clark, A General Martyrologie, Containing a Collection of All the Greatest Persecutions which Have Befallen the Church of Christ from the Creation to Our Present Times (London: Printed by A.M. for Thomas Underhill and John Rotherwell), 1651, https://ia801405.us.archive.org/12/items/ageneralmartyro00clargoog/ageneralmartyro00clargoog.pdf (Accessed March 3, 2019), 309 (PDF page 355).

332English king Edward V, a Protestant, died in 1553. His successor was Queen “Bloody” Mary, a Roman Catholic, who earned her nickname by persecuting Protestants.

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